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Netflix has been sued in California Northern District Federal Court over its fictional TV series The Mire. The court action, brought by the Medrala Law Firm on behalf of Piotr and Katarzyna Woloszynska, accuses the defendants of misusing the plaintiffs’ images and mischaracterizing their family in the show’s second season. The case is Woloszynska v. Woloszynska, 5:23-cv-00636. … Weitz & Luxenberg and Turke & Strauss filed a data-breach class action in New York Southern District Federal Court against global trade-publishing company Macmillan. The suit, which accuses the defendant of failing to implement adequate data security measures, arises from a June 2022 breach impacting the personal information of its current and former employees. The case is Batchelor v. Macmillan, 1:23-cv-01217. … Utopia Music Holdings was sued in Delaware Court of Chancery. The lawsuit, brought by Greenberg Glusker and McCollom D’Emilio Smith Uebler on behalf of SourceAudio Holdings, seeks to compel Utopia to acquire SourceAudio pursuant to its membership interest purchase agreement. According to the complaint, Utopia agreed to acquire SourceAudio for $26.5 million but has failed to close the transaction. The case is SourceAudio Holdings LLC v. Utopia Music Holdings (US), 2023-0172. … Amazon.com was hit with a lawsuit in Florida Southern District Federal Court over the alleged sale of items containing copyrighted images. The lawsuit, filed by SRipLaw on behalf of photographer Alan V. Satterwhite, pertains to two well-known photographs taken in the 1970s of celebrities Stevie Wonder and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The case is Satterwhite v. Amazon.com Inc., 9:23-cv-80235. … Paramount Global f/k/a ViacomCBS Inc. and Showtime Networks have been sued in New York Southern District Federal Court over alleged employment discrimination. The lawsuit was filed by Ballon Stoll on behalf of a Black-Hispanic former executive producer who claims that his pay was reduced and he was banned from his workplace after he complained to the human resources department about verbal abuse and threats he received from his white colleague. The case is Lopez v. Paramount Global, 1:23-cv-01126. … OnlyFans’ parent company Fenix International was hit with a patent infringement lawsuit in Texas Eastern District Federal Court in relation to its video-on-demand platform OnlyFansTV (OFTV). The suit alleges that OFTV, which allows content creators to provide VOD content exclusively to subscribers, infringes a family of patents owned by plaintiff Distributed Media Solutions. The suit was filed by King & Wood Mallesons and the Stafford Davis Firm. The case is Distributed Media Solutions LLC v. Fenix International Ltd., 2:23-cv-00048. … Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani filed a breach-of-contract and trademark infringement lawsuit in Florida Southern District Federal Court on behalf of Charles Turner and Three Legged Machine Inc. d/b/a Blackberry Smoke, an Atlanta-based rock band. The suit pursues claims against music promoter Legends of Music Row for its alleged unilateral breach of a performance contract and accuses the promoter of continuing to use the “Blackberry Smoke” mark in connection with the Legends of Music Row Festival. The case is Three Legged Machine Inc. d/b/a Blackberry Smoke v. Legends of Music Row LLC, 1:23-cv-20480. … Universal Music Group, thrash metal band Megadeth and other defendants were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Eastern District Federal Court. The lawsuit, brought by Kibler, Fowler & Cave and Kovel Law on behalf of Brent Elliott White, claims the defendants used the plaintiff’s artwork for the cover art of Megadeth’s 2022 album without the plaintiff’s permission. The case is White v. Megadeth Inc., 1:23-cv-00861. … Univision is being sued for copyright infringement in New York Southern District Federal Court. The suit, brought by the Sanders Law Group on behalf of photographer Chris Cuffaro, accuses the defendant of posting the plaintiff’s photo of the rock band Nirvana on the website tudn.com without permission. The case is Cuffaro v. Univision Communications Inc., 1:23-cv-00873. … World Wrestling Entertainment has been hit with a complaint for inspection of books and records in Delaware Court of Chancery. The lawsuit, brought by Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman on behalf of Dennis Palkon, stems from a shareholder derivative lawsuit filed last week against the WWE and its former CEO Vince McMahon, who recently resigned over sexual assault allegations. The complaint was not publicly available. The case is Palkon v. World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., 2023-0087. … Amazon.com, Audible.com, Blackstone Audio and Urban Audio Books were slapped with a breach-of-contract and copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Eastern District Federal Court. The court case, brought by Dorsey & Whitney on behalf of Teri Woods Publishing, accuses Urban Audio of violating its license agreement with the plaintiff by failing to pay royalties and giving away works owned by the plaintiff for free to premium subscribers of the defendants’ audiobook streaming and digital download services. The case is Teri Woods Publishing LLC v. Amazon.Com Inc. et al., 1:23-cv-00507.
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By Michelle Davis
Force majeure is lurking in the shadows of the Hollywood strikes, offering struggling studios a potential lifeline out of debt. But the best attorneys and the strongest contracts are proactive, rather than reactive. Thus, consider the following drafting tips to strengthen your force majeure language now, in the calm before the next storm.
By George Ernst
This year’s update from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for O-1B visa petitions has knock-on effects for the movie and TV industries. The update has clarified the correct standard of adjudication for an individual with both elements of an O-1B artist and O-1B motion-picture-and-television-industry (MPTV) classification, meaning situations where a foreign national will be working in the U.S. as an artist, but some of their work will be in MPTV.
By Thomas Kjellberg and Robert W. Clarida
Termination is not automatic. It may be effected only through affirmative action on the part of the author or his or her statutory successors, who must serve an advance notice, signed by or on behalf of all of those entitled to terminate the grant, on the current copyright owner within specified time limits and under specified conditions.
By Entertainment Law & Finance Staff
A look at moves among attorneys, law firms, companies and other players in entertainment law.